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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
"Erby’s Turn to Rake" by Christopher Epling is a delightful chapter book. The cover immediately caught my attention with its bright colors and odd looking creatures called Polliwogs. The other polliwogs were doing their chores while Erby lay in his bed sleeping. He heard them asking about him but he still didn’t want to get up. It was Erby’s turn to rake and Mr. Bullock was looking for him. Erby could only see two choices, to run away or to face Mr. Bullock. He decided to run away and became lost. The polliwogs believed Erby had wandered too far from the village and became food for the Kroftymofts. Mr. Bullock was concerned and Erby missed his snack. Erby continued to travel moving farther from his village, while the village became more and more concerned. So continues Erby’s journey and adventures.
"Erby’s Turn to Rake" is a tale about facing responsibilities. Christopher Epling has created a superb tale that will hold a child’s attention. The illustrations are breathtaking. Epling is both the author and the illustrator. Epling began writing this tale while he was deployed. As he thought about family and home the plot began to take shape in his mind. Thus Erby was born. Though this is considered a chapter book the chapters are very short and easy to read. The illustrations bring the characters to life. There is a message in this that can be shared between guardian and child, a message of love, responsibility and care. Mr. Bullock cares enough to face his fears and go looking for Erby, just as most parents love their child enough to keep them safe, warm and protected. I highly recommend "Erby’s Turn to Rake" for preschool through sixth grade. Well done Mr. Epling.